Why Urban Farms Matter

Recently the oldest country kid brought home a flyer from 4H for a free event at an urban farm that is located within driving distance from us. We are lucky enough to live in a tiny village (population less than 1,200) and have our own garden, but not everyone is so lucky. I thought it would be a great way for my country kids to get a glimpse at how farming can be done anywhere there is land available. So on the appointed day and time, we hopped in our truck and headed out to Bright Star Farm.

My GPS took us from our humble countryside into a rundown neighborhood. It was sad to see old houses in ill repair and yards that were not kept. People were sitting on their porches on a weekday, obviously they didn’t have jobs they needed to be at. And that is when I had to explain to my children what poverty was and how the welfare system worked, as my oldest couldn’t wrap his mind around why they weren’t at work like his father. When we pulled up at the two acre farm in the middle of all this, it was a beautiful sight to see with things growing everywhere!

We exited our vehicle, noting the folks watching us from their porches and joined the activities. This “community” event, that none of the community seemed to want to attend, hosted booths from a health care system, the drug counsel, 4H and the farm. The booths were giving away stuffed animals, cups, pencils, and balloons to the children. Sadly there were only six kids and two of them were mine.

The 4H booth had a bike powered blender where the three families that attended the event whipped up some yummy berry smoothies thanks to the leg powder of the oldest country kid. The staff working the event tried to call over the community members from their porches to have some, but there was only one taker. After drinking his smoothie, the young man left.

The event had activities for the kids, like making seed bombs, as well as fun outdoor games to show them how nature can be fun. At one point in the day, there was a cooking demonstration for the adults. Not only did they teach us how to make a watermelon salsa, but discussed proper knife handling skills, kitchen safety and nutritional info.

Okay, so by now, if you are anything like me, you might be getting a little depressed by the fact that there is this amazing garden growing with a wonderful event being held and the only people to attend were an elderly couple, a single Hispanic mother and her four children and myself with the country kids. All that hard work to put on a community event and the community didn’t bother to come……

But then I stopped and looked around me….. All these wonderful gardens growing beautiful produce…. These few families having fun….. We WERE being watched….. If nothing else, we had peeked the curiosity of the community! And curiosity is the beginning of learning. And THIS is why urban farms matter! Maybe only a few of the community youth are involved with this garden, but imagine the difference it makes in THEIR lives!! I later learned that one of the community youth who used to volunteer, now runs the program. I would call that success!

I blog in the hopes that I can inspire just one person to try something new, just one, and it will all be worth it. Urban farms do the same thing…. reaching out in the hopes of trying to inspire the community they exist in. And this urban farm not only inspires, but teaches horticultural skills, and provides produce to the community. No longer can the community say they can’t eat healthy because produce cost too much or they don’t have access to it. The farm stand at this urban farm has great prices and is in walking distance to the community. And THIS is why urban farms matter!

Photos courtesy of  Sprout Urban Farm who puts these urban farms into area communities.
So why do urban farms matter? Because they change lives, one community member at a time. Change may be slow, but while planting vegetable seeds, they are planting hope in a community that needs it!

18 thoughts on “Why Urban Farms Matter

  1. I agree–they do matter. The farming community is the most giving and helpful community I've ever been able to experience, but it is definitely a slow-going process to share what we know because so few really want to know how to get back to the land—except farming people! Every little bit of sharing does help, and if it educates or excites someone, that's awesome. Sounds like you guys had a great day, and on the bright side, you guys probably got to learn so much because of all the one-on-one time you probably got with those running the show. Yay!

    1. Oh we had a wonderful time! Your right, while there is a big movement in some segments of our culture to get back to the land, there are others that have no desire what so ever or why it is even a good thing to do. Slow and steady will win the race!

  2. What a great opportunity for the Country Kids. You spark the love of nature and the land. Your Grandfather L would be proud of you.
    Love, GS

  3. So many lessons learned that day! May they take root and blossom into something wonderful!

  4. Its such a shame that more people didn't show up but I agree with you. At least the community saw it and saw what was going on and the gardens there. Change usually comes one step at a time, and this is totally a great example.

    1. As depressing as it was, there was hope. And as long as there is hope, anything is possible!

  5. Hi Mindie, thanks for sharing your perspective of the urban farm event. I find that as an urban dweller of 2 decades, urban farms are a great resource for introducing science, economics, and healthy accessible produce. I do want to gently point out that there are all kinds of people in urban areas – as there are in suburban and rural areas – it's very difficult to know what is going on in a community unless you are part of that community. There could be many reasons why the event was not well attended. It was interesting to read your perspective. This is my perspective. Thanks for letting me share.

    1. The community in which the farm was located is not one that is a stranger to me….. that being said, I don't live there, so I don't know everything. As you pointed out, there are many kinds of people in urban areas…. not all of them sit on their porches and watch from afar.

  6. So much that you learned that day. And, I'm sure the food was so delicious. I think that a lot of folks have become sedentary and rely on the government for their things and, therefore, do not make an effort. Thanks for sharing.

    1. But there is hope growing there too and maybe they are only impacting one person at a time… but everything has to start some where!

  7. Great post Mindie. Isn't it so fun how much homesteading relates to life and God, particularly gardening? Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop!

  8. So glad you made the effort to take part. These types of ideas are probably foreign to city dwellers, so it may take many exposures before it takes hold. It was wonderful that your family supported the event. Thanks for sharing on The Maple Hill Hop!

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